In true Portland form, what’s old is new again. If it seems like it wasn’t long ago that Oregon’s brewery population broke the triple-digit mark — even as the current count nears 200 — that’s because it wasn’t. And just three decades ago, there was only one solitary craft brewery (Cartwright, long ago defunct).
One of the very first breweries in Portland was the eponymous Portland Brewing Co., founded in 1986. Based on the popularity of its MacTarnahan’s Amber Ale, released in 1992, the company name was changed to MacTarnahan’s Brewing Co. From there it gets even more confusing, with ownership tied to Pyramid Brewing, Vermont’s Magic Hat, and New York’s North American Breweries. But the brewery itself never left Portland, and its brand new name reflects that. In 2013, it’s back to Portland Brewing once more!
While Mac’s Amber isn’t going anywhere, to commemorate all this old newness, Portland Brewing will be releasing new beers, starting with Rose Hip Gold. This isn’t the first rose hip beer brewed in or near the Rose City, but it’s a worthwhile beer to slip back into any beer lover’s fold.
The dry berry and plum notes derived from rose hips, a rose bush’s pre-bloom fruit, are only slightly perceptible through the esther-y Belgian yeast strain that provides most of the golden ale’s fruitiness. That you can find it on special at Fred Meyer for the nearly free price of $1.79 per 22-oz. bomber makes the throwback a great value.
Brian Yaeger, Drink Portland